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Larry Porter, former head coach at Memphis, and running backs coach at Arizona State, LSU and Oklahoma State, has been named running backs coach at Texas, head coach Mack Brown announced Wednesday.
“We are very excited to have Larry Porter joining our staff,” said Mack Brown. “He brings a wealth of experience and has a reputation as one of the best coaches and recruiters in our game. Larry has spent a great deal of time in the Big 12 and SEC and has a strong familiarity with our state and staff. During his time at Oklahoma State and LSU, he did a tremendous job recruiting Dallas and Houston. He also has worked with two of our current coaches in Bo Davis and Stacy Searels in previous positions and has been friends with Darrell Wyatt for a number of years, so that should make for a smooth transition. We’re really looking forward to having him in our program.”
Porter joins the Longhorns after one season as running backs coach at Arizona State, which followed two seasons as head coach at his alma mater, Memphis.
“I’m just really excited to be joining what I think is the best program in the country,” Porter said. “Having the opportunity to work under a man like Coach Brown, who I look at as a legend in college football, is an honor and a privilege. He has done so much for college football and is so well respected. I’m thrilled to be joining his staff and to be a part of a program that I’ve had such great admiration for.
“The future of Texas football is very bright and being able to work with Coach Brown and so many guys I’ve known and worked with before is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. My family and I are really excited and looking forward to getting started.”
At Arizona State, Porter helped guide a running game that ranked 24th in the nation with an average of 205.3 yards per game, including capping the season with a 380-yard performance in a 62-28 win over Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. It was the second 300-yard rushing effort of the season for ASU.
The balanced running backs unit was led by Marion Grice, who totaled 679 rushing yards on 6.6 yards per carry with 11 rushing TDs, and Cameron Marshall, who compiled 582 rushing yards and nine rushing TDs. D.J. Foster added another 493 rushing yards with two TDs. The group also showed its versatility with Grice leading the team with eight receiving TDs on 41 receptions for 425 yards, while Foster recorded 38 catches for 533 yards and four TDs. In all, that trio combined for 1,754 rushing yards, 22 rushing TDs, 1,058 receiving yards and 13 receiving TDs.
Porter also brings experience as a head coach after leading the Memphis Tigers in 2010 and 2011. Inheriting a program that was 2-10 in 2009, Porter’s vision was developing a championship culture and that effort was rewarded by the city of Memphis investing in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, the alumni and administration investing in the weight room and turf field, as well as the players investing in every aspect of the program.
Several Tigers received recognition for their contributions in 2010, and the squad also made strides under Porter, including improvements in the classroom and dedicated efforts to community involvement. Senior linebacker Jamon Hughes was one of five Tigers named to the All-C-USA team, and was a first-team pick.
A native of Jackson, Miss., Porter spent five years on the LSU coaching staff from 2005-09. He worked with Texas offensive line coach Stacy Searels (2005-06) and UT defensive tackles coach Bo Davis (2005) during his time with the Tigers. He had also worked three years with LSU coach Les Miles at Oklahoma State before joining him in Baton Rouge in 2005. He coached the LSU running backs while holding two key roles on staff – assistant head coach and chief recruiter. Porter was elevated to the position of assistant head coach during the spring of 2006. Rivals.com twice named him as the National Recruiter of the Year in 2007 and 2009.
As LSU's running backs coach, Porter helped develop some of the top players at that position in LSU's history. From 2005-09, LSU produced a 1,000-yard rusher twice in Jacob Hester with 1,103 yards in 2007, and Charles Scott with 1,174 yards in 2008 as well as having five players (Hester, Joseph Addai, Quinn Johnson, Charles Scott and Trindon Holliday) selected in the NFL Draft. In three of his five seasons at LSU, the Tiger rushing unit averaged over 165 yards a game, including a high of 214 yards per game in 2007. That squad closed out the season ranked 11th nationally in rushing. From 2005-08, the Tigers totaled 108 rushing touchdowns, including 35 in 2007.
Porter and the Tigers had a "running back-by-committee" approach during the National Championship season in 2007. Hester led all rushers with a career-best 1,103 yards and 11 touchdowns and was a second-team All-SEC selection. Keiland Williams was second on the squad with 478 yards and six scores, while Trindon Holliday was third with 364 yards and two touchdowns.
As a unit, LSU rushed for 214.1 yards per game and 35 touchdown, both ranked second in the SEC. Another impressive feat for the Tiger running backs was the fact that they combined for 432 carries with just one lost fumble.
Following the 2007 season, Hester was picked in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He became the fourth running back coached by Porter who had been selected in the first three rounds of the draft since 2004.
As a unit, LSU’s running backs ranked second in the SEC in rushing in 2006 with 165.8 yards per game. The Tigers also had 25 rushing touchdowns, a figure that ranked second in the league.
In his first year with the team in 2005, Porter made an immediate impact on LSU's running game as the Tigers rushed 1,951 yards and 21 touchdowns. LSU's rushing offense ranked fourth in the SEC, while the 21 rushing touchdowns were the second-highest total in the league.
Addai had his best year in a Tiger uniform, rushing for 911 yards and nine TDs. He went on to become a first-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2006, and was the first LSU running back taken in the first round since 1991. Addai was a finalist for NFL Rookie of the Year in 2006 and played a key role in the Colts' Super Bowl victory over the Chicago Bears.
In three seasons at Oklahoma State (2002-04), Porter's stable of running backs continued a strong tradition at OSU as he coached 1,000-yard rushers for three-straight seasons. In 2004, Vernand Morency earned second-team All-Big 12 honors after rushing for 1,474 yards, which ranked eighth in the nation, and 12 touchdowns. Morency was a third-round pick of the Houston Texans in 2005.
A year earlier, Tatum Bell earned first-team All-Big 12 honors with 1,286 yards and 16 touchdowns. Bell and Morency combined for 2,204 yards and 24 touchdowns for the Cowboys in 2003. Bell went on to become a second-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos in 2004. In his first season at OSU, Porter guided Bell to a 1,096-yard, 11-touchdown season for 8-5 Oklahoma State.
Prior to his arrival in Stillwater, Porter spent three years at Arkansas State, where he coached Jonathan Adams to back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Adams rushed for 1,004 yards and six touchdowns in 2000 and followed that with another 1,004 yards and five scores in 2001.
Porter began his coaching career at Wooddale High School in Memphis, Tenn., serving as head track and field coach, while assisting with the running backs and secondary on the football squad. After two years at Wooddale, Porter moved to the collegiate ranks, coaching the running backs at Tennessee-Martin in 1998.
Porter lettered four years (1990-93) at Memphis, serving as co-captain of the 1993 Tigers squad. He closed his career with 2,194 rushing yards and 20 rushing TDs, ranking seventh in school history in yardage and tied for fifth in TDs. Porter had a total of six 100-yard games during his career, a figure that ranked tied for fifth in Memphis history. Porter graduated in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in education.
Porter and his wife, Sharmane, have three children – Brandon, Omari and Olivia.